Nude figures are central to the work of Edgar Degas, from his early works in the first half of the 1850s to the final years of his artistic activity. Even more than the dancers, the scenes of horse racing and urban life, or the portraits that made him famous, the nude was the genre Degas used to introduce new ideas and develop his style over the course of almost fifty years.

Degas was a superb draftsman as can be seen in his rendition of  bathing female nudes. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Degas' interest seemed to move more towards representing nude women at their daily activities, like washing or combing their hair, or even resting for a moment after a bath. The repeated representation of these activities, as opposed to the study of the classical nude referring back to Antiquity, then guided his stylistic evolution. 

He was especially fascinated by the effects produced by monotype and frequently reworked the printed images with pastel.

Degas made great use of the monotype, noticeably enlarging the format. On plates coated with ink that he then removed with a brush, a pointed instrument or even his fingers, he produced works with dark backgrounds reminiscent of the prints by the 17th century Dutch masters who had been rediscovered at that time.

Throughout his life, Degas had renewed the approach to the classical theme par excellence, the nude, taking it right up to the avant-garde movements of the 20th century.


"Woman combing her hair"

"Woman in the bath"

"After the Batht"

"A woman wiping her hand"

"After the Batht"

The woman behind the toilet"

"The drying woman"

"After bathing"

"A woman wiping her hair"

"Morning toilet"

"Woman wiping with

a towel and sponge"

"Woman coming out of the bath"

"The drying woman"